The Board of Directors approved a series of Core Standards recommendations that impact the appeal hearing process including:

  • Enforcing a firm December 31 deadline by when local and commercial associations must complete their Core Standards certification forms
  • Formalizing the process by which state associations communicate issues of a local association’s non-compliance to NAR
  • Allowing state associations to meet with and provide written documentation to the hearing panel before any appeal
  • Prohibiting Core Standards hearing panels from granting extensions to non-compliant associations.
  • Requiring a warning letter by February 1 to chief staff and officers of non-compliant associations
  • Allowing hearing panels to set a one-year probationary period on non-compliant associations and to impose sanctions with options that are less severe than charter revocation for first-time offenders.
  • An NAR-developed training programs to educate local, commercial, and state association volunteer leaders on the Core Standards.

The Core Standards are intended to raise the bar for REALTOR® associations and ensure high-quality service for members. The standards, which became effective upon approval by the NAR Board of Directors in May 2014, ensure strategic alignment with all entities of the REALTOR® association.  All REALTOR® associations, as a condition of membership, are required to annually comply with a set of standards that are specific to local and state associations and commercial overlay boards.
Core Standards Six-Requirements Pie Chart

  1. Code of Ethics 
  2. Advocacy
  3. Consumer Outreach      
  4. Unification Efforts and Support of the REALTOR® Organization 
  5. Technology
  6. Financial Solvency

The annual compliance cycle runs from January 1 to December 31, by which time all local associations and commercial overlay boards are required to submit their certification forms to their respective state associations. If a local or commercial association is not in compliance with the standards, state associations must notify NAR by January 30. Core Standards enforcement is the joint responsibility of the state and national associations. If a state association confirms that a local or commercial association is not in compliance with the Core Standards, that association’s charter may be revoked. However, all associations will first have the opportunity to appeal this determination and appear before a hearing panel of the NAR Association Executives Committee to show cause why the association’s charter should not be revoked.

Local and commercial overlay boards should consult with their state associations if they have questions about compliance.  For other questions, checkout this resource.

What’s New with the Core Standards in 2021?

  • Association strategic plans must include a diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) and a fair housing component.
  • Associations must conduct or promote a diversity, equity and inclusion activity and a fair housing activity. Possible options for completing this standard include the following:
    • Measure and assess diversity in the association membership and develop an actionable roadmap for local association DEI; NAR has a new Insights Hub tool to help with this process.
    • Conduct or promote fair housing training.
    • Conduct or promote an At Home with Diversity (AHWD®) course.
    • Conduct or promote implicit bias training (e.g., NAR’s implicit bias video).
    • Form a Diversity Committee or a Fair Housing Committee.
    • Other DEI or Fair Housing activities.
  • Associations can meet the existing Advocacy requirement for ‘Act’ under the REALTOR® Party goals and the existing Consumer Outreach ‘Being the Voice for Real Estate' and ‘Community involvement and investment’ requirements through activities that demonstrate a commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and Fair Housing.  Note, this is not an added requirement, but just another way to meet the existing Advocacy and Consumer Outreach requirements.
  • The leadership development education requirement within the Unification Efforts standard now specifies that the association’s education and training for volunteer leaders must address the following:
    • Increased awareness and understanding of the Core Standards.
    • Understanding of staff and volunteer leadership roles and responsibilities. (See the President/Chief Staff Executive Checklist for more on this.)
  • Associations must commit to greater diversity, equity and inclusion among the association’s volunteer leadership.
  • Associations must have the ability to interact with members in a remote work environment via a virtual meeting platform such as Zoom, Skype, WebEx, etc.
  • Associations that administer professional standards must have the services of a certified Professional Standards Administrator.  Note, this is not a new policy; it is consistent with existing NAR policy and has been added to the Core Standards Certification Form.


Core Standards FAQs

FAQs to assist local and state REALTOR® associations in understanding NAR's Core Standards compliance criteria.